A Universal Estate: Kant and Marriage Equality

In Larry Krasnoff & Nuria Madrid Sanchez (eds.), Kant's Doctrine of Right in the 21st Century. pp. 220-240 (2019)
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Abstract

This paper explores Kant's account of marriage and its relevance to contemporary debates over same-sex marriage. Kant's defense of marriage is read against debates unfolding in Prussia in the 1790s, when the question of whether marriage was a "universal estate" was a central point of debate surrounding the Prussian Legal Code of 1794. By reading Kant's arguments in light of this historical context, and in comparison with those offered by his contemporaries, Fichte and von Hippel, this article shows both that the debates about marriage in the 1790s mirror contemporary tensions, and that Kant took a "middle path" that innovatively defended marriage as a basic feature of the state.

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Jordan Pascoe
Manhattan College

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